Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Lent, Day 30 March 30th , 2017

Prince of Peace: From the Cradle to the Crown and Beyond
Jesus' Teachings
The Kingdom, Part 11

In The Kingdom, Part 10, we reviewed the Parable of the Treasure Hunter (Mt. 13: 44) and discovered another short one that followed it, the Parable of the Pearl (Mt. 13: 45-46). Both these parables liken the value that we place on things that we regard as treasures to the inestimable value of finding the Kingdom. We also looked at our part in expanding the Kingdom and reviewed two elements regarding how others become part of the realm: 1) those who earnestly seek Christ’s Kingdom, will find their way into it (Mt. 7: 7-8), and, 2) we need to do our part (1 Cor. 3: 5).
Paul's word-picture of planting, watering, and harvesting brings to mind the experience of buying our first house. We avidly read books and magazines on gardening. One article focused on a gardener who gathered the dried flower heads in his gardens and wandered around his property looking for empty spaces. When he discovered such areas, he would shake the stems, allowing the seeds to fall. He never knew precisely where the seeds had landed or which ones would survive, yet he kept repeating this process. The results were spectacular!   So as I read the Parable of the Farmer (Mt. 13:1-23), I had a new insight. I always wondered why the farmer scattered seed in a willy-nilly fashion, why he hadn’t been a little more focused in where he dropped the seeds (i.e. on ground that was known to be fertile).  Instead, the seeds dropped on several different types of soil: 1) on a pathway, but were quickly consumed by birds (i.e., the message about the Kingdom was heard, but satan snatched away the seeds that were planted in the hearts of those individuals; 2) rocky areas, with very little soil (i.e., those who hear and joyfully respond to God’s word, but they don’t get rooted and grounded in love (Eph. 3: 14-19) ). As a result, they don’t get established in their faith and are not able to hold on when faced with life’s difficulties; 3) among thorns and get choked out (refers to someone who is distracted with life’s demands and troubles, which chokes out whatever has been shared from the word of God); and, finally, 3) rich, fertile soil (represents those who hear and understand the word and share it with others). 

How do we help others join the Kingdom? We, like the farmer, plant seeds everywhere we go serving as channels Jesus’ love and grace and sharing Scriptures and our testimony (plant seeds). We may also serve as teachers and mentors (water seeds). Sometimes we have the privilege of leading someone to Christ (harvesting). (1 Cor. 3: 5b-7)
Tomorrow we will focus on the Parable of the Wedding Banquet.
Blessings & Peace
Elizabeth Hogan Hayduk
Former Salvation Army Officer (pastor)

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